Wife's computer: The Mother of all problems.

Microsoft Windows xp home edition sp2b
January 16, 2010 at 11:28:41
Specs: Windows XP Home
I have the mother of all problems. I won't waste time getting into the "how did I get here" story, so here's the problem(s).

It's my wife's computer. It's a Dell Dimension 8400. She has the situation where Windows is now prompting her to log in - which she never had to do before. Once she clicks her name, it flashes the windows background and immediately logs her out. I did find this:http://www.computing.net/answers/windows-xp/winxp-logs-off-as-soon-as-i-log-in/106983.html and tried to follow it. Once I get into the Recovery Console it asks for the Admin password. There isn't one set. And I know there isn't one set, because when it prompts her to log in, it never asks for a password. She removed the login password way back when her PC actually worked.

I've looked around and found that if you can't find the RC Admin password, you can boot in Safe Mode and run a little utility to recover/reset the password. However, I can't boot in Safe Mode at all. I get the BSOD. In fact, when I F8 when her PC is booting, the only option that I don't get a BSOD message is to boot Windows normally.

No possibility to get into Safe Mode, and I can't get into Windows. On top of all of that, I can't just do a fresh re-install of Windows yet, because she's a photographer and there are files that cannot be lost. Any ideas? Or am I done for?


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#1
January 16, 2010 at 12:07:47
first thing I would do is attempt to get the "files that cannot be lost". boot with a live linux cd and drag them on to a usb drive or burn to a cd.
http://distrowatch.com/index.php?di...

http://pcsupport.about.com/od/tools...

I have used method number 1 to "clear" the password.

larry


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#2
January 16, 2010 at 12:11:01
If, and that's a big word...if you have the installation cd (not a recovery cd) you can do a repair install.

I would suggest looking at
http://www.michaelstevenstech.com/X...

Note the "Do not select the first repair option"

It is a given that backing up just in case is not an option for you.

Your wife's pictures should be ok.

It sound like you may have a virus as well so after you get up and running do a full scan.

Hope this is of some help....and your bios will allow booting from cd before C: drive


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#3
January 16, 2010 at 12:26:29
yeah, i had similar problem. I obtained a winXp full-install CD and reloaded windows, but i didn't do a wipe, just overlayed all the windows system-files. All my personal files were unaffected and windows booted fine (with no passwords) after the restore. I would still recommend, as above-posted, to try and backup the photo files first (slave the drive onto another computer, boot with linux, use boot-cd, etc).

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Related Solutions

#4
January 17, 2010 at 08:59:11
"She has the situation where Windows is now prompting her to log in - which she never had to do before"

Did you recently run Windows Update? When .NET Framework installs, it changes some settings & causes the logon password prompt. If no password was ever created, just press ENTER. The password prompt can be disabled once you successfully get into Windows.

"Once I get into the Recovery Console it asks for the Admin password. There isn't one set"

Just press ENTER...no password is required.


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#5
January 17, 2010 at 11:19:01
> No possibility to get into Safe Mode, and I can't get into
> Windows. On top of all of that, I can't just do a fresh
> re-install of Windows yet, because she's a photographer
> and there are files that cannot be lost. Any ideas? Or
> am I done for?
>

It's the old story once more ... Any OS (and Windows in particular) is actually the most unstable piece of software on your computer. So, if you place the most important piece of data on the same disk, you are taking a big risk there. The simplest and most effective is to have a DIFFERENT harddisk for your OS and your "data" (whatever that is). The day your OS breaks down, physically remove the data disk (you gottta know which one that is, of course), and re-install the OS. You can't loose anything. Ask your computer vendor to add an additional disk. Or, use partitioning, but you need some expertise to do that, and there is more of a risk, than with physical disks.

Or, buy a computer with 1 big slow disk, and let your Windows crash, and then have all sorts of problems to recover any data from that disk. In that case, you are going to start on a recovery, which computer experts do not like to go into, just because the user made a mistake of putting data on the wrong place. An OS re-install goes like this : format the drive, install OS. Two hours of work.


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#6
January 20, 2010 at 19:50:00

i owe you an incredible debt of gratitude Larry!
I used the first program to find the password that she forgot she made and got into Recovery Console. that alone didn't fix it so I used your second method and fell in love with Linux. I made a boot disc, copied all of the needed files to a backup HD that I had bought a while ago and did a fresh re-install of XP.

Thanks to everyone!


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#7
January 20, 2010 at 20:47:18
"...that she forgot she made..."

Happened to my next door neighbor about a year ago. After a week or so, he tried her birth date and...

"Oh! That password! Sorry honey."

Skip


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#8
February 2, 2010 at 14:57:34
Computers can be real pains sometimes. One of my daughters got the facebook virus that was going around. >:( I wanted to delete her account. Luckily I had a next door neighbor who knows computers inside out and he fixed the problems for us. He also put some ">pc virus protection software on for us. We haven't had a problem since. I've considered switching to a Mac or purchasing an iMac for a while. I guess they're supposed to be a lot better.

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#9
February 3, 2010 at 09:27:57
"I have the mother of all problems"

Are you referring to your wife, or her computer ?

Sorry, couldn't resist !!


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